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Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Greg Smith Scandal

Everyone by now has heard about the New York Times Op Ed written by Greg Smith. He resigned from Goldman Sachs publicly. “It makes me ill how callously people still talk about ripping off clients,” he wrote in the Op-Ed article. It was a scathing article confirming the worst greed and scandal of Wall Street that began to leak with the economic collapse that we already suffered (and continue to suffer). Pushing junk mortgages off as product on unsuspecting customers, for which they charged exorbitant fees, of course.

Another article appeared in the New York Times this morning with photos of the parties involved. It struck me that people who work on Wall Street may be a different species of animal than the rest of us.

This is a photo of the hugely successful CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein. Blankfein was named as one of "The Most Outrageous CEOs of 2009" by Forbes magazine. Anyone who calls his clients "Muppets" has got to be a bit outrageous, I'd say. And his evil twin, just behind him in this photo is Gary D. Cohn, the President and COO of Sachs. Their memo responding to Greg Smith's accusations were, of course, a complete denial.

The bald heads and similar faces struck me as almost alien-looking. Did Blankfein hire a replica of himself? Isn't this a bit odd? I have a friend, Benjamin Buchholz, who writes a blog called Not Quite Right. NQR. This definitely qualifies as NQR.

But then I see the photo of the courageous whistle blower, Greg Smith. (It has been said he waited until AFTER bonuses, however, to blow his little whistle). And he looks (to me) like almost a baby Blankfein in the making. He's only 32 and already the hair is gone?

Goldman Sachs takes NO responsibility for ripping off its clients. And perhaps its clients don't leave because they are the 1% of America's wealthiest, and are likely treating their own clients the same way.

America is spiritually bankrupt at the level of 1% and is insanely fundamentalist (religiously fervid Bible thumping) at the level of 99% (who knows how many?). Somewhere in the middle, the rest of us, the sane, reasonable, honorable) remain invisible, hoping that the market stays up!


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